Candlelight Dinner

History of the Candlelight Dinner

In October 1909, Ernest and Lewis Eaton had hoped to welcome students to their new educational venture, Billings Polytechnic Institute (BPI), the first postsecondary institution in Billings and current site of Rocky Mountain College. Unfortunately, construction delays forced them to postpone the opening. During the fall of 1909, students took classes downtown until the buildings could be finished. In January 1910, the campus was finally ready, and students, faculty, and staff loaded hay wagons and made their way up 27th Street, along the canal, to RMC's current location. They arrived cold, tired, and hungry; when they went to the dining hall for dinner, they discovered that the electricity had not been turned on so they ate their first meal on campus by candlelight. While it was not the most pleasant meal, the students decided it was an event worth commemorating. Rocky Mountain College has celebrated the Candlelight Dinner every winter since 1910.

Alma Mater

'Neath the shadow of the Rimrocks
Stands a college firm and true,
Whose green and golden banners
Hail Montana's skies of blue.

Rocky Mountain, we all love thee,
Alma mater of the West,
We raise our cry to glorify
The college we love best.

Thy traditions we all honor,
Thy fair campus we adore.
In thine ivied walls we've tarried,
College of the Open Door.

Music by Philip E. Turner, Former RMC Professor
Words by Herbert Hines, RMC President 1951-1958

Hold High the Torch by Dr. Lawrence Small

'Hold high the torch, you did not light its glow
It was given you by other hands, you know.
It’s yours to keep it burning bright,
Yours to pass on when you no more need light.
For there are other feet that you must guide
And other souls go marching side by side,
Their eyes are watching every tear and smile,
And efforts that you think are not worthwhile
Are sometimes just the very help they need,
Actions to which their souls would dive most heed
So that in turn they’ll hold it high
And say, “I watched someone else carry it this way.”
If brighter paths beckon you to choose,
Would your small gain compare with all you’d lose?
Hold high the torch, you did not light its glow
‘Twas given you by other hands, you know.
I think it started down its pathway bright
The day the Maker said, “Let there be light.”
And He once said, who hung on Calvary’s tree.
“Ye are the light of the world, Go! Shine for me.”


Alumni Relations
Eaton Hall,
Upper Level